National Recording Project


Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009

The South Bank Lion, Westminster Bridge


Type Sculpture

     Refer to proximity of Coade Manufactory. The piece weighs thirteen tons, was made in separate parts cramped together and was painted red. Made, along with two smaller lions, for The Lion Brewery, Belvedere Road (1836 by Francis Edwards), to decorate its river front parapet. When the brewery was demolished in 1950 to make way for the Royal Festival Hall, the larger lion was preserved and erected, at the wish of King George VI, at the entrance to Waterloo Railway Station. When the lion was removed it was found to have a bottle containing two William IV coins and a Coade trade card in a recess in the its back. In 1966, as a result of the redevelopment of Waterloo Station, the GLC transferred the lion to its present position on Westminster Bridge and named it 'The South Bank Lion'. In addition, they replaced the bottle, adding a 1966 coin, a copy of the GLC Chairman's letter published in The Times, 17 March 1966, which gave a brief history of the lion, and a copy of an article on Coade stone by J. H. Holroyd, published in The Times, 5 March 1966.


A colossal Coade stone lion mounted on a tall granite plinth with rounded ends. Originally painted red, the paint was stripped off in 1951 when the lion was removed from its original setting. Although at first it was hoped that the artificial stone could be left in its uncoloured state, blemishes in the surface rendered it necessary to give it at least a coating of colour approximating as closely as possible the natural colour.

Related works : In addition to The South Bank Lion, the Lion Brewery had two smaller lions, one of which was destroyed and the other of which has been installed at the entrance to Twickenham Rugby Ground where it now serves as a mascot for the British Lions, the national rugby team.

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Woodington, William Frederick Sculptor

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Lion Coade Stone 366 (h); 396 (l.)
Plinth Grey granite None

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
General condition Fair
Surface condition
  • Other
Structural condition
Road Westminster Bridge
Precise location At the east end of Westminster Bridge, on the north side (next to County Hall)
A-Z ref None
OS ref None

Sorry, we have no precise geographical information for this item.

Date of design 1837
Year of unveiling None
Unveiling details See History
Commissioned by None
Duty of care None
Listing status II*
At risk? No known risk

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